By Harm Reduction International
Despite the well-documented health and social impacts of substance use in general and injecting drug use specifically, harm reduction interventions remain very limited in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Only six countries implement needle and syringe programs (NSPs) - Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia - and four provide opioid agonist therapy (OAT) services as part of harm reduction - Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine. Even in countries where NSPs and OAT are provided, accessibility and coverage remain a challenge, due to lack of funding, legal issues, stigma and discrimination, criminalisation of drug use, lack of political commitment. Overdose response is minimal and limited to only two countries - Lebanon and Morocco. No drug consumption rooms (DCRs) are currently available in the region nor programs specific to the use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).